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James M Vargo

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Passage of the Acolyte, Part One
by James M Vargo   

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Publisher:  createspace ISBN-10:  1456511793 Type: 


Copyright:  Feb 12, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781456511791

Passage of the Acolyte

A Fantasy about Greynol Arowen, a servant of the servants of Fawarra.

Greynol Arowen is an Acolyte and the 'Sage of Idarill'; that is, if you consider the last half of his eighty years. Then a message arrives at his door, an invitation of sorts that reopens the mystery of is earlier life. Once a fighter, champion, and husband to Aliane, since lost to the enemy, Greynol discovers the past hid a secret beyond his reckoning. Enslaved by a merciless foe, Aliane bore him a son. Forty years later, Fauglir, weilder of dark magic and minion of Illutar, enemy of all things fair, claims to be that son. He offers the Acolyte an invitation -- and challenge.

Greynol ventures to a tournament and enlists a group of young friends to escort him on a journey that leads to the heart of the enemy with hopes of facing his son and undoing the evil the binds him.  


Chapter One – Emissary

When the doorbell rang at the manor Greynol Arowen called home, however rare, the visit could be lumped into three categories: the happenstance passerby curious about the plaque outside the door that read, Idarill House; or a merchant peddling spoons or some other ware the old man did not want or need; or perhaps a formal letter from Lord Vesgar or a noble in the city, inviting him to a proper function in Vanyor beneath the foothills where he lived. He never went. But it was a particular visit three years earlier, a messenger bearing an official letter that subtly snuffed out the last vestiges of his life’s work – the announcement of his retirement.

“On the occasion of your seventy-seventh birthday, your service to Fawarra and the Holy-Exarch will have ended. The time you have offered in service to the faith by your consecration is most appreciated. May Fasduen bless your final days.”

“Please find Idarill House a welcome retreat to live out your remaining years until a new master is selected, and our reaffirmation and commitment to Vanyor and northern Nordhiem will continue…”

And so it went.

Greynol learned to discover solace in the simpler things in life. He felt at once abandoned and free. In the shadows of a great hall that formed the heart of the manor, he studied; the meager glow of the hearth and a candle lamp that fluttered from an unchecked draft his only light. With bent fingers, he traced the words of a dusty library of books – the scrutiny of his gaze etched lines upon his face; but otherwise, his look was vibrant and beneath his years. His mind was sharp, and here in the quietness of his retirement, time drifted from memory. But for Greynol, it felt as if something in time had waited, like a storm poised upon the horizon – something a holy man could recognize.

Professional Reviews

Quite good book by new fantasy author, March 15, 2011 By Wulfstan
This review is from: Passage of the Acolyte: part one (Volume 1) (Paperback)
James Vargo has a very good start here to his planned epic fantasy two-volume series. This is the story of Greynol an "Acolyte" (a sort of holy man). Greynol has lived for decades in a quite life of contemplative retirement when he is pulled back into the real world by a dark secret from his past- one that may have dire consequences for the world.

The Acolyte thus must gather a small group of escorts for his quest across the continent, and ends up with a group of eager young men.

In many ways, I found the tale so far quite evocative of The Fellowship of the Ring. Don't get me wrong, there's no attempt to copy LotR ( no hobbits, etc), and it's not up to Tolkien's writing level (who is?), but still, there is a sense of the Fellowship here.

I quite enjoyed it. Not a lot of magic or combat, but just enough of both to add a sense of wonder and danger. The world is beautifully described, too. And, it has several nice maps, and we all know how much I like maps in a fantasy novel. Nice character growth and a slow building of what we know about Greynol, too.

There's a few missteps, of course, such as one would expect from a new author. Names are a bit confusing, as is all too common in fantasy books. To an extent, same with the different peoples. What would be a good addition is a glossary with a short character bio and info about the various people, nations, etc.

Still, those are quibbles. I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

I rcvd a copy of this book for review.

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